10 Marketing Analogies That We Know Too Well

Marketing is a career that fosters creativity and encourages growth and self-expression. That doesn’t mean it isn’t hard work, though! Given that it can be a bit abstract, the concept of “marketing” is difficult to define. And as marketers, you know we love a good analogy. 

So, in hopes of “defining” marketing, why not use some of our favorite analogies to do so?  

Below, you’ll find 10 of our go-to marketing analogies that we use to remind us why we do what we do. Hopefully, they’ll work just as well for you, too!

1. Marketing is like building a house, it needs a good foundation. 

Making something great usually doesn’t come quickly or easily, and that yields especially true in creating great marketing. Marketing is a process — a long process that is continuously built on a solid foundation of research, collaboration, and hard work. As marketers, we must understand the importance of putting in the initial effort to establish the strong foundation that will power campaigns and drive businesses.

Like that house, or campaign, you are building, the foundations you lay should be solid to support anything that comes next. This stage of the process will prove highly impactful in every campaign to follow, so it should be done thoroughly and accurately — or else everything will crumble. While it requires ample time and effort initially, creating the sturdy base will save you a lot of time and effort (and late nights and headaches) down the road. 

Don’t let your campaign fall onto deaf ears. Make sure you’re targeting the right audience by reading our blog  The Anatomy Of A Buyer Persona.

2. Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket.

The marketing landscape is continuing to expand with time. There are multiple options for  channels available to market your or your client’s content, and you should not allocate all of your resources to a singular channel. Adopting a multi-medium approach ensures you are not limiting your marketing efforts and your potential, but do be sure to maintain a cohesive message across your platforms.

Trial and error is an integral part of the industry. One of the beauties of marketing is that a lot of good can come from learning from past mistakes, so don’t be afraid to try something new. This marketing analogy shows the importance of incorporating different channels and mediums into your “basket” to both diversify and broaden your reach. After all, marketing is about expanding your business opportunities, not limiting them! 

Are you asking yourself what is The Importance Of A Strong Channel Mix? Take a closer look of why you should be dispersing your eggs in different baskets. 

3. There’s no magic behind marketing, just hard work. 

While the creativity that goes into marketing strategy and campaigns may appear to be powered by some sort of magic, it is really just hard work. The final product doesn’t just come to you, it comes through hours of research, trial and error, and creation. The best marketing campaigns are going to be the ones powered by agencies that understand the value of putting in the extra effort to create something that aligns with the client’s objectives and are strong enough to drive them toward their goals. 

There are no shortcuts to success. A campaign that doesn’t have the strong foundations, as previously mentioned, is not going to generate the results your client is looking for and will generate a lot of extra work for you later. What comes easy won’t last, and what lasts won’t come easy. Putting in the extra effort is well worth the results, and it will make the client happy — which we all know is the ultimate goal.  

4. You can’t take content marketing on a coffee date.

It may take you a second to wrap your head around what this analogy means, but once you get it — it’s brilliant. The implication being that a coffee date is simple and doesn’t take much time or effort out of your day, and content marketing is not something to be made casual. Content marketing is something that requires ample amounts of thought and attention (over possibly one too many cups of coffee).

Keeping on the common theme we’ve established thus far, you must be willing to put time and effort into your marketing, and content marketing is no exception. Incorporating content marketing into your overall strategy is vital in building trust with your customers and generating leads, so it is not something to just “grab a coffee” with. Your content marketing deserves a 3-course meal at a five-star restaurant if you want it to be successful

5. People don’t buy goods and services, they buy relations, stories and magic. 

You sell a good product, sure, but so does the next company. So why should the consumer purchase your product over the competitors? The primary reason lies in the power of branding and the story your brand tells. People aren’t going to simply buy your product over the next, they are going to take your brand’s story and their relationship with you into consideration — so make sure you connect with your audience. 

Your brand story shows the world what you are selling, why you are selling, your values, and everything in between. This story should be told in a way that resonates with your target audience and inspires a relationship between them and your brand. The more they can connect to your brand, the more likely they are to become loyal customers. 

Storytelling isn’t nearly as powerful if it’s not done correctly, so be sure to look at How To Create A Brand Story That Resonates.

6. Be less reactive and more proactive.

It’s easy to sit back and only speak when called upon. With a world that is constantly advancing and adapting, it’s easy for marketers to simply react and respond to new trends, fads, and critiques. What can be difficult, but much more effective, is being proactive. Putting in extra effort to remain on the forefront allows you to set yourself apart and establish yourself as a brand. 

While being proactive comes with more work and more risk, it comes with much more reward when done correctly. Addressing current needs can cause you to blend in with the rest of the market basket. It can cause you to stagnate. To stand out, do your research, apply foresight, and look to solve future problems — problems people didn’t even know they had! 

7. You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take. 

We love this quote by Michael Sco— we mean, Wayne Gretzsky. This analogy stems from the risk you take in sports when you finally take your shot. There is a chance it goes in, but there is also a chance it doesn’t, which can be scary. If you don’t take the shot, any chance of success is gone.

The same goes in marketing. You may have an idea that could work, but it also could not work. If it doesn’t, you may feel like you’ve wasted time, money, and effort, while also upsetting the client. But, if you never took the shot in the first place, you never give yourself the chance of success. Marketing is unique in that even in failure you can find success. Failing only means that you know what not to try again — it becomes a learning experience! 

Morale of the story, take the shot. You give yourself the chance of either success or a lesson to better you in the future. 

8. Be so good they can’t ignore you. 

There are people who just go through the motions to get the check at the end of the week. These people, and their work, are easy to point out. This quote should ignite motivation and passion. Be someone who does what you do because you truly believe in what you are doing and why you are doing it. 

In marketing, when you believe in your brand, people will believe in you, too. Let your passion drive your efforts and be the best you can be — you will see results and people will notice. Set the bar high and people won’t be able to look anywhere else. 

9. Telling your date they are attractive is marketing, telling your date that you are attractive is advertising, and having someone else tell your date that you are attractive is PR. 

This marketing analogy shows the differences between marketing, advertising and PR from a different lens. You are able to better tell them apart by translating the relationship between each and their date, AKA your target audience.

In marketing, the customer is always the center of everything we do. Or, at least it should be. While other avenues, such as advertising and PR, are an effective way to let people know who you are, your marketing efforts should be distinctly targeted to your consumer, and provide them with a sense of community. In doing so, you create that “magic” feeling that separates you from your competitors and grows an audience of loyal fans

10. The customer may not always be right, but they are always the customer. 

The common saying, “the customer is always right” isn’t always true — especially in marketing. Marketing is an industry where you are selling your expertise, so in a lot of situations you will know more than the client. They are, however, still the customer. Their needs are your needs, their objectives are your objectives, and their goals are your goals. 

When working with your customer, you need to make sure they know that they should trust you, and that you are keeping their best interest in mind. Maintaining a positive relationship with your client is bigger than just keeping business. Now more than ever, your current customers are some of your most powerful endorsements through word-of-mouth advertising. A delighted customer is more likely to spread positive reviews and create future business opportunities, which is a real win-win for any marketer if you ask us! 

Check out our  Tips To Turn Your Customers Into Fans for a little more information. 

These are some of our favorite marketing analogies that help us better understand our work, how we do it, and most importantly, why we do it. It’s important to try and look at things through a different perspective to gain further insights and drive passion. However, even the most genius marketing strategy will fall flat if it’s not geared towards the right audience. 

If you need a little extra help when it comes to defining your target audience (even if you’re B2B like us!) download our free guidebook, Understanding Your Target Audience, by clicking the button below!